Deer Research Unit , Whare Rangahau Tia

The Deer Research Unit is mainly used as a teaching farm for vet students, along with some studies such as parasite research.

Visit a farm, ask a question, or request teaching and research services.



  • To maintain a base deer flock using sustainable management practices.
  • To provide a facility and environment suitable for research and a practical teaching resource for the School of Veterinary Science.
  • To provide a link between the university and agribusiness.

Farm features

About the farm

The Deer Research Unit was established in 1980, and through the 80s and 90s was heavily involved in research. While still used for some studies such as parasite research, it is now used mainly as a teaching unit for vet students.

Intensively sub-divided into 36 paddocks, ranging from 0.14 to 1.77ha (averaging 0.59 ha).

Location and map

The farm is located on Sheep Farm Road adjacent to the Massey University campus, approximately 5km from Palmerston North City.


22.30 hectares.

Effective area: 22.16 hectares.


80 metres above sea level.


Predominantly flat with about 5ha of gullies.


7°C July, 18.1°C January (monthly 10cm soil temperature).


980mm (average annual rainfall).


  • Poor draining heavy clay Tokomaru Silt Loam on the higher terraces.
  • Compact clay loams with compact subsoil, poor natural drainage and with a tendency to dry out in summer.
  • Moderate natural fertility.


Tiles and mole, with the soil still wet in winter.

Water supply

Reticulated water from main Massey University supply.


Half a labour unit. Works together with Keebles and Haurongo farms on the Sheep, Beef and Cattle Research Unit.


A purpose built handling shed constructed in 2005 with yards.


Predominantly perennial ryegrass with clovers, chicory, and plantain.

Grazing policies

Pasture based production system aiming to achieve high levels of feed conversion efficiency through excellent rotational grazing management. Sheep and cattle from Keebles farm are used to graze any surplus grass and to clean up paddocks.

Regrassing policy

Pastures are renewed on a ten-year rotation and/or as required for research.


Fertiliser programmes are based on soil test results.

Soil tests are done biannually and show the following results:

Year pH Olsen P SO4 K Mg
2006 5.7 35.0 6.7 6.9 27.0
2010 5.6 31.8 10.0 5.6 27.8
2012 6.0 27.0 12.6 5.4 25.9
2016 5.9 29.0 11.3 3.6 26.2
2018 5.8 23.0 12.6 4.2 20.2
2020 5.8 24.0 12.0 7.0 25.0

Maintenance fertiliser program 2021: 380 kg/ha of Sulphur Super + N with added Selenium (26-24-25-30).

Crops and supplements

No supplement is made on the farm due to the small paddocks. Baleage is purchased in and fed to stock if required.

Stock numbers

Numbers as at 1 July 2021.

Red deer

This table shows current stock numbers of red deer
Deer Stock numbers
Hinds 74
R1 year hinds 47
R1 year stags 47
Yearling hinds 26
Breeding stags 5
Total 199

Our people

The Deer Research Unit is managed by Steven Bayler.

Stephen Bayer

Farm Manager – Keebles Farm and Farm Manager – Tuapaka Farm & SBCRU
School of Agriculture and Environment